1 [noncount] : a lack of sound or noise : quiet
▪ I find it hard to sleep unless there is complete silence. ▪ The silence was broken by the sound of footsteps in the hallway.2 : a situation, state, or period of time in which people do not talk [noncount] ▪ We sat there in dead/total/complete silence. ▪ My sister's revelation was met with stunned silence. ▪ Silence fell/descended upon the room. [=the room became quiet] ▪ The professor asked for silence. [count] ▪ There was an awkward silence after he confessed his love for her. ▪ A long silence followed her reply.3 : a situation or state in which someone does not talk about or answer questions about something [noncount] ▪ We must break 50 years of silence on issues like the government's involvement in assassination and espionage. ▪ I will not be intimidated into silence. ▪ You don't have to suffer in silence. [=suffer or be unhappy without saying anything] [singular] ▪ She finally ended her silence and spoke to the media about what happened. — see also conspiracy of silence
▪ I find it hard to sleep unless there is complete silence. ▪ The silence was broken by the sound of footsteps in the hallway.
deafening silence — see deafening
silence is golden
— used to say that it is often better to remain silent than to speak